CROW GARLIC

WILD ONION

Allium vineale

Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july

flower
flower8mauve flower8purple
 
inner
inner8beetroot
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
 
type
typeZbell
 
stem
stem8round
 
stem
leaves8hollow
leaves
smell
smell8garlic
garlic

11th April 2015, old railway embankment, Askrigg, Yorks Dales. Photo: © RWD
Young plants before the grass obscures the foot of the plants. The hollow stems are a glaucous green and could be mistaken for a grass.


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Normally spreads over large areas but each usually well separated from one other. A close knit group found here. Usually medium height 80cm, but can get to 1.2m.


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A pinkish papery sheath covers the bulbils at first, with a characteristic shortish spire (not the long spire of Field Garlic).


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
As the bulbils enlarge the papery bracts are forcibly torn apart to reveal the white at first purplish bulbils. Distinguished from the similar plant Round-Headed Leek (Allium sphaerocephalon) in having only one papery sheath (and not two). Also, Round-Headed Leek has a hollow stem, whereas Crow Garlic has a solid or nearly solid stem.


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This specimen has three globes of bulbils, and unusually a few emergent white at first flowers (top). Papery sheath with short spire beneath.


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The few as-yet un-opened flower buds. (Only very few specimens flower, most only display bulbils).


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Most have only one globe of beetroot coloured bulbils - here a four-globed head from below.


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A Soldier Beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) on the bulbils.


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Another specimen with a few emergent flowers.


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A double-globed specimen with sprouting bulbils (right).


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Bulbils sprouting green filaments.


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The green sprouting filaments seem to wither away at the ends.


27th July 2012, extinct rly, Marshside, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
A triple-globed specimen with single flower (bottom right).


9th Aug 2014, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Seldom flowers. Bulbils initially individually wrapped in a thin papery-brown covering, which eventually drops off to reveal the purple-brown bulbils.


9th Aug 2014, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The flowers vary from red to pink to greenish-pink with darker longitudinal marks on each petal.


9th Aug 2014, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Flowers 2 to 4mm long. Petals are pointed, unlike those of Keeled Garlic which are more rounded at the end.


2nd July 2012, Hightown, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Stem is round and thin yet extremely robust and stiff.


4th July 2015, Leasowe Lighthouse, Moreton, Wirral. Photo: © RWD
Stem is solid (or nearly so). Here totally solid and very tough!


Easily confused with : Sand Leek (Allium scorodoprasum) but that has the stamens that do not protrude from the flower, and its leaves are flat whereas they are cylindrical and hollow on Crow Garlic. Also, Crow Garlic can grow larger than the 2 feet of Sand Leek; up to 4 feet tall.

Many similarities to Round-Headed Leek (Allium sphaerocephalon) but that has two papery sheaths enclosing the bulbils (rather than the one of Crow Garlic), and the stem of Round-Headed Leek is hollow (whereas that of Crow Garlic is solid or nearly so).

Some similarities to : Garlic, Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum) (where the stamens do not protrude) and to Keeled Garlic (Allium carinatum) (where the petals are not pointed but rounded at the ends and the two papery bracts once encompassing all the bulbils are very long).

No relation to : Crowfoots, Water Crowfoots or Crowberry [plants with similar names].

This plant is by far the commonest Garlic plant that possesses bulbils, which are purple. It is usually without flowers and of medium height, but can reach 1.2m. The flowers vary in colour from red to pink or greenish-pink and are 2 to 4mm, in an untidy spray at the summit on long thin somewhat droopy flower stalks. Crucially the stamens protrude from the bell opening, un-like those of the similar Sand Leek. The papery bracts form a short spire on top as they do on Garlic (Allium sativum), much shorter than the very long spire of Field Garlic (Allium oleraceum) or the even longer papery bracts of Keeled Garlic (Allium carinatum).

Although the stems are long, thin and round they are extremely tough and do not yield to breaking with bare hands. The plant smells of garlic if crushed. The bulbils are the means by which it propagates when they fall to the ground.

Grows in bare and grassy places, sometimes becoming a nuisance on arable fields.


  Allium vineale  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Alliaceae  

Distribution
 family8Onion & Garlic family8Alliaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Allium
Allium
(Onions)

CROW GARLIC

WILD ONION

Allium vineale

Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]